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Charlie Leese’s Sculptures Lumber Indoors at Bass & Reiner

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Charlie Leese, 'Truncated Bovinity #2,' 2017; Zines included in the Bass & Reiner show. (Courtesy of the artist and Bass & Reiner Gallery)

The artist who brought a glimmering, growling sculpture to a concrete platform behind the Dogpatch’s DHL shipping warehouse is back at it with a solo show of steel sculptures, giant vinyl prints and zines.

The ambiance is a bit different for Charlie Leese this time around. Instead of a weedy plot equal parts fennel and roaming skunks, the setting for Truncated Bovinity is the white “cube” of San Francisco’s Bass & Reiner Gallery.

Sacrificing a novel setting, Leese gains space and time—space for more work, and an actual exhibition span in which gallerygoers can view that work. Truncated Bovinity features a number of sculptures Leese calls “shells,” welded cylindrical shapes and vessels stripped of function. Their familiar shapes gesture at usefulness, but their purposes are left to the imagination. Leese is interested in the contrast between the promises of new technologies and “murky sludge” such industries actually produce.

There is no mistaking Leese’s sculptures, or the hands that make them: even in their slickest variations, sculptures in the Truncated Bovinity series (cows cut short?) have character. And who needs a weedy plot when you have a room of elaborate, mysterious objects treading a thickly beaded line of weld between animate and inanimate? –Sarah Hotchkiss

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